Colombo’s 17-15 win over the Doha Rugby Club this weekend sealed not only their first match of the season but also gave the Dialog League back home an ominous reminder of their strength in depth for the coming season.
To mark the inauguration of the first Ambassador Cup match between Colombo and Doha Rugby Clubs, the Sri Lankan Attaché to Qatar – HE ASP Liyanage drew on the rugby communities in Qatar at the Doha Rugby Club.
He said that Rugby it is a platform for opportunities and he extended his thanks to the Colombo Rugby Club for the positive role they played back home in developing talented youths and producing ‘ambassadors’ for Sri Lanka.
The Colombo Rugby Club Ambassador Cup champions were missing several regulars but it made little difference as they recovered from a shaky 12-3 deficit to narrow the score 12-8 at halftime. A successful penalty goal early in the second half brought the visitors within one point of the hosts (12-11), but that did not stop the barrage of pressure exerted by the Doha team. The strategic tactic of the hosts to play the match deep in the visitors half paid off as Colombo infringed under pressure giving away another easy three points.
With ten minutes to go and the scoreboard reading 15-11, Doha seemed to have the advantage. Then the Sri Lankan tsunami crowd kicked in,lifting their comrades with their chants and cheers. The Colombo players reacted to the call and provided an epic power surge that earned them two consecutive penalty goals, the lead and finally the match.
Winning captain Yoshitha Rajapaksa praised the Doha team for their performance and thanked the strong crowd in attendance.
The Doha Rugby Club who was also missing a few of their top starters, were dominant throughout the match. Their scrummaging was devastating at best, full of grunt and force. Even with their uncanny attack and the ability to produce unexpected performances from anywhere on the field, the hosts in the end were beaten by the slightest of margins.
Doha’s captain Elliot Johnston later thanked all the sponsors for making the match possible and for bringing the Colombo team.
We are starving proper professional rugby at the moment and to have this match is very much refreshing and appreciated. We hope we can develop a long relationship with Colombo and hopefully respond better in the future.’
Following the match, the Colombo players paid homage to the Sri Lankan strong crowds, applauding them for their support and attendance. They later mingled with families and friends.